OSJ Creation Care Update | June 19, 2018
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This special edition of the Climate Witness Project (CWP) newsletter is intended to highlight some of the stories from across the CWP. Churches in the United States and Canada are working hard to fight climate change and be good stewards of God’s creation through energy stewardship projects, advocacy efforts, educational opportunities, and incorporating creation care into worship. Read some of these inspiring stories below!

If you're interested in becoming a Climate Witness Partner, visit or email Steve Mulder (

New York

Valley CRC Signs up for Community Solar

In 2015, Valley CRC of Binghamton, N.Y., looked into installing solar panels on its roof, but due to expense, aesthetic, and structural concerns, they decided not to pursue the project at that time. In 2018, however, the option of community solar became available in the area, and it seemed like a natural fit for Valley CRC. Earlier this year, they officially signed up with solar company Nexamp for community solar. Valley CRC sees many benefits in pursuing community solar:

  • Renewable solar energy helps the church be a better environmental steward.
  • They’re supporting a project run by a local company.
  • They’re supporting New York State's Energy Plan (50% electricity will come from renewable energy resources).
  • They will save 10% on their electric bill, with no capital expense required.
  • It encourages members of the congregation to follow suit in their own homes.

Valley CRC has taken additional energy stewardship steps as well, including installing roof insulation, an energy efficient boiler, and LED lighting. In the future, Valley CRC hopes to explore ENERGY STAR certification.


‘All Things New’ Children’s Nature Space

Centrepointe Community CRC in Edmonton, Alta., has been teaching its children about creation care and have followed up with a special project that includes building compost bins and planting trees and fruit-bearing shrubs. These elements will be part of a new children’s nature space that Centrepointe is building. The transformation of the space so far has gone from a very hot southern exposure with grass and weeds, to now having the start of shade plants and the ability to make new soil. The long-term plan is to continue developing the space, and the church plans to include as many creation-care components as possible. The “All Things New” theme of the nature space is intended to teach children that God will make all things new on earth, and that we are called to participate in this work.

British Columbia

Creation Care Sunday

Houston (B.C.) CRC recently held a special creation-care service featuring a slide show of local plants and animals with the A Rocha Blessing playing in the background. The pastor spoke on Colossians 1:13-20 and talked about how creation is created in, for, and through Christ, and how his acts of redemption on the cross are for all things. The service was well received and served as another example of Houston CRC’s dedication to creation care. The congregation has maintained a community garden for the past eight years that helps to mitigate climate change. The garden reduces pollution due to its lack of pesticides, provides food for refugee families and others, and serves as a place for the church to connect with community and the soil.


Creation Care at the Frontiers of Mission Conference

Climate Witness Partner Wendy Hammond attended the Creation Care at the Frontiers of Mission Conference in Pasadena, Calif., in April 2018. The conference was intended to help attendees explore the “gospel of the kingdom at the intersection of environmental stewardship and ministry among the unreached peoples of the world.” Attendees were equipped and inspired to engage in environmental stewardship. The conference featured several notable speakers, including renowned climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, A Rocha International cofounder Peter Harris, and Resonate missionary Ruth Padilla DeBorst. For more information about the conference, visit


Climate Change Education in Local Churches

Dr. Henry Brouwer, CWP regional organizer in Ontario, Canada, has been visiting local churches and educating members on climate-change science and how Christians can respond. So far, the following churches/organizations have invited Dr. Brouwer to speak on the subject:

  • Calvin CRC, Ottawa
  • Immanuel CRC, Simcoe
  • Good News CRC, London
  • London District Christian Secondary School
  • Covenant CRC, Woodstock
  • Waterloo CRC, Waterloo

Dr. Brouwer has found these events to be very effective in helping Christians understand the facts of climate change and how they can respond in concrete ways. Interested in hosting an educational event at your church or organization? Contact Steve Mulder at

Red Mesa

Bethany CRC Named ‘Cool Congregations’ Winner

Earlier this year, Bethany CRC in Gallup, N.Mex., was named a 2017 Cool Congregation Challenge winner by Interfaith Power and Light. Bethany received this honor because of its installation of more than 100 solar panels atop a carport in the church parking lot. The solar energy from the panels now supplies the electrical needs for the church building. According to Interfaith Power and Light, the Cool Congregations Challenge is meant to highlight how people of faith are taking action on climate change, regardless of the support of government policies. As a winner of the challenge, Bethany serves as a strong moral role model in their region, encouraging other churches to follow suit. Read more about Bethany’s efforts in this CRC News story.


Seniors Respond to Climate Change

CWP regional organizer David Flikkema has had a number of conversations about climate change with people young and old, but he says the most interesting conversations have happened with senior citizens. Because seniors have been around longer than others, they have witnessed many changes this world has endured. The conversation always has a dynamic tone, says Flikkema, because seniors recognize more than anyone the impact of time, technology, and change on the earth. Many grew up as children using coal for heating and cooking. Many began their working lives in the era of “big” – big cars, big oil, mass production – in a time of plenty after World War II, when questions about limited resources were largely unheard of. The 1940s, ’50s and ’60s were a time of prosperity with little thought about the environment and the impacts of fossil fuels and rampant resource use.

In conversation, Flikkema adds, today’s seniors can often be nostalgic, highlighting struggles, joys, sorrows, and accomplishments. But some are now realizing that success came at a cost. They are coming to know that their grandchildren are inheriting a world in great decline. Most are shocked by the scale of the problem and feel somewhat helpless as to what can be done. Fortunately, many are doing what they can, getting involved in local efforts to practice the four R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle, recover). Flikkema encourages seniors to speak up and speak out to local, provincial, and federal politicians to take progressive action on climate change. He has also been encouraged by their passion and commitment to making a change and making a difference.

West Michigan

Solar for Churches Workshop

On May 23, 36 church leaders from 19 congregations gathered in Grand Rapids, Mich., to better understand the feasibility of their churches’ going solar. They heard from representatives of Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, and Solar Winds, as well as from three area churches that have already invested in solar panels: Church of the Servant, the Ann Arbor Campus Chapel, and Plymouth United Church of Christ. Interested churches will receive a free assessment from Solar Winds this summer.

In the fall, the organizers will reconvene and present various financing options and host an open house with installers, financial experts, utilities representatives, and consultants. They are hopeful that a number of these churches will be able to see their way to powering their buildings with renewable energy.

Northwest Iowa

American Reformed Church Addresses Climate Change

American Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa, has grown to be active in addressing climate change. The church has held a study on Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. The church has also switched to using washable, reusable cups instead of disposable ones, and they are prioritizing energy stewardship while they are in the process of launching a building addition.

Rocky Mountain

Hope Fellowship's Community Garden

Hope Fellowship CRC in Denver, Colo. recently began an intergenerational community garden as a partnership between the Climate Witness Project and the church's outreach committee. They started the garden by removing sod from a portion of the church lawn and planting vegetation on a rainy Saturday in May. Kids from the church were tasked with planting vegetable and flower seeds. The garden is a trial this summer, and the church plans to distribute food throughout the neighborhood with the crops harvested. So far, both flowers and vegetables are growing well, and church members have been encouraged to harvest and use the herbs from the garden. Overall, the garden has been a success, engaging church members of all ages and providing an opportunity for the church to care for creation.